A Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of Victoria
We, the Little Sisters, voice our concerns as this legislation comes into effect, knowing that this will pose a threat to the life of the vulnerable, elderly and frail. We know from experience that the elderly when accompanied with love, care, respect for their dignity and for their inalienable rights as unique human beings, are capable of continuing to live fulfilled lives. When their frailty increases they are assured of receiving skilled palliative care with all the comfort and dignity that this provides.In this respect, request for euthanasia does not occur and we Little Sisters will always uphold the dignity of human life.
The following excerpt is from the Handbook of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Melbourne given to the Residents on admission:
Care of the dying is the summit of the hospitaller mission of the Little Sisters. It is a sacred and precious moment in the journey of our residents in which we feel privileged to be part of. At this time of ultimate care, the Little Sisters try, by their presence, to show the Resident the tenderness of God and, in prayer, to transmit unshakeable confidence in Him.
As death approaches the focus of care becomes increasingly palliative to relieve physical pain, discomfort and distress. At this time, respectful, sensitive and skilled caring will be used to support you, your family and your carers.
You will be accompanied day and night – appropriate care and prayerful presence will be maintained throughout this time. Your family and friends are welcome to be with you at this time, and may assist in your care if they wish. They may stay with you day and night. Accommodation is habitually available.
Following the teaching of the Catholic Church, we, the Little Sisters of the Poor believe that “God alone is the Master of life and that we are stewards, not owners of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church.) Therefore, we do not accept any form of euthanasia or assisted suicide.
We affirm that the human dignity of each person is inalienable, based on his/her very humanity. The physical and psychic damage caused by illness can never undermine this inalienable quality.
The policy of the Little Sisters of the Poor on Euthanasia would have
been explained to you prior to your admission to enable you to decide whether to pursue your application or not.
Your care, according to the various levels of assistance required, will be met by a team of professionals: doctors, nurses, caregivers, physiotherapists, cooks, dieticians, chaplains; and non-professionals: volunteers, pastoral care givers; whose goal will be to preserve the best quality of life possible until death.
Click here to view complete handbook.